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EyeSight is precious, have your vision and eyes examined regularly- it isn’t only for spectacle wearers!
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(The Association of ) Optometrists say Cataract Waiting Times Highlighted in RTE Investigates can be solved!
Optometrists have today said that lengthy waiting times for cataract treatment, as highlighted on RTE Investigates last night, can be reduced by making greater use of Optometrists.
Just to be clear, this news is NOT from last night!!
The Association of Optometrists Ireland said that a scheme has been developed and is successfully being applied in the North West called the ‘Sligo Post-Cataract Scheme’. It has proven highly successful in reducing waiting times for patients and in reducing costs in that region.
Under the scheme cataracts patients are co-managed by Optometrists in the community and Ophthalmologists in Hospital. The scheme simplifies the patient pathway and speeds up access.
AOI Chief Executive Sean McCrave called for the Sligo Scheme to be applied nationwide. “AOI together with the HSE has successfully trialled the ‘Post-Cataract Scheme’ in Sligo / the North West and it has proven clinically effective and brought cost savings.
“In the award winning scheme, Optometrists are provided with access to the hospital IT infrastructure and electronic patient records; and provided with training on the specific protocol to follow.
“Instead of two separate follow up appointments, one in the hospital and one with the community Optometrist, patients are given the option of a single appointment with their local Optometrist. This can be made at the patients’ convenience, in a local practice.
“This combined appointment facilitates the Optometrist to examine the eye and carry out a refraction in one appointment and then enter the details on the electronic patient record held in the hospital. “With over 20,000 procedures a year, rolling out the Sligo protocol nationally would reduce out-patient cataract appointments by approximately 20,000 at reduced cost with no capital expenditure,” Mr. McCrave said.
There are 8,500 people currently awaiting cataract surgery and waiting times of up to four years in some parts of the country.
A repost of a press release from the Association of Optometrists Ireland, but the RTE details are here.
Sadly, and perhaps a little cynically, I feel that some eye doctors must have a vested interest in longer waiting times – longer waiting times are better for private work after all?
As one particular client (let’s call him Jerry) has found out (more than once), Santa cannot deliver contact lenses – he too busy to stop by our suppliers on Christmas Eve! So – please do not try to order lenses on Christmas Eve for Christmas delivery!
All the other “couriers” are also very busy at this time of year, and the suppliers are often closed until the new year, even before Santa’s trip around the world. No other couriers seem to deliver on Christmas day, so to order on Christmas Eve is a little too late, even for Santa!
This is not the “last call” to order contacts for the holidays, but if you might need some, please order them – they can sit until 2018 no worries, if you don’t need them. We do not want to see you stuck!
We have not yet been advised of our last order times from the various suppliers, but we all by now know that Christmas is coming?
(I have got absolutely nothing bought, planned or done as yet – who am I to talk!?)
If you do not avail of the new PRSI treatment benefit scheme in 2017, you have lost out?
There has been a significant change to the rules of entitlement to the PRSI scheme – it has been changed from “once every 24 months” to “every second calendar year”. This made no difference in my mind, at all – but Sandra pointed out that if you were to claim in 2017, you would be re-entitled in 2019. If you do not use your entitlement until 2018, you will then need to wait until 2020. Sandra is quite correct that if you need something – glasses or contact lenses, you should arrange to get them before the end of the year, otherwise your 2017 entitlement is gone! It is all about this new rule arriving so late in a calendar year.
Remember that most self employed people are now also entitled to eye tests and help towards glasses or contact lenses, for the first time.
The difference between 24 months and every second calendar year will make little difference in the longer term, but in the short term, you could use your entitlement in December 2017 and January 2019 – that is a claim in the second calendar year. Wait till January (18), and you will need to wait until January 2020.
You can use your entitlement once every second calendar year, but not necessarily at the same time – you can use the glasses/contacts claim in 2017, and still have an eye test in 2018, if you wish, or need one, but you would have no help towards spectacles, or contact lenses at that visit, which is fair I reckon?
This post would probably be of most interest to people who have recently damaged their glasses, or need to reorder their contact lenses for the Holiday Season.
But! We need to know that you want to use it in 2017 – if you call in 2018 to say you should have/ wished you had used it – it will be too late – claims cannot be submitted before the authorisation date! If you do not use the facility in 2017, your next but one claim will be 2020 at the earliest..
Clients who have a Medical Card, but also PRSI entitlement – “Dual Qualification”, can chose to use either entitlement – we would recommend the PRSI route as it is faster – no need to wait 8 weeks for a HSE authorisation. But you are not entitled to use BOTH, apparently – I have asked the Department about the client who used their Medical Card last year, and now wants to use their PRSI, but as yet I have had no response. We are not, never were allowed to “dual claim”, so it is “either or” as we understand, unless or unless that is clarified.
I had a young lady in on Saturday, looking for a contact lens case. She is a student and was home for the weekend, but forgot her case. She had purchased her usual contact lens solution in a nearby pharmacy, but they did not have any contact lens cases.
The solution she had purchased was LensPlus – a bottle of Saline – suitable for rinsing all types of contact lenses. But it is not suitable for storing contact lenses – it has no antimicrobial activity, at all. It is salty water, with a tiny amount of Hydrogen Peroxide, to prevent the solution itself becoming contaminated, but the Peroxide concentration is such that it will not kill bugs on a contact lens, and breaks down rapidly when exposed to light! I advised her that the solution was a bad choice, and that she should return to request a refund, but then she admitted that she had been using that one for ages with her lenses.
I gave her a trial pack of Optifree Puremoist, which has a bottle of correct solution in it, and a case. She was very grateful as “her eyes were killing her”, as she had slept in her lenses.
Daily contact lenses are supplied (Sterile) in salty water, but they are sterile until opened, and (should) only be used once! This student was wearing monthly lenses, which are also sterile until opened. After that first day, they need to be disinfected. Poor advice when she was taught about how to look after her lenses, I guess?
I cannot think of any disinfecting solutions which are supplied without a case these days, so please be aware – if the solution does not come with a new contact lens case in the box, it is likely because the solution is not suitable for storing/disinfecting your contact lenses!
You should probably be using a “multipurpose solution” – suitable to clean, rinse and store (disinfect) the lenses. Her solution was suitable for rinsing only.
Unless you were recommended a different care scheme, such as Hydrogen Peroxide based, which often requires a separate cleaner, and neutralisation before wearing the lenses, either with a different solution in the morning, an added tablet in the evening, or a platinum catalyst in the base of the barrel case, but these are less common these days – I would only recommend these types to people with very “allergic” or sensitive eyes. These solutions often have a red tipped bottle nozzle, to indicate it cannot go into your eyes. I’ve been there, and it SMARTS, more than a little!
Contact lens solutions can be bought in the pharmacy and in the supermarket, but READ THE LABEL, and if you are in any doubt, consult your contact lens specialist?
Best advice I reckon is do not change brands until you check with the optician – the number of people I see who do not know what they are using – “it is a white and blue bottle”, it has a yellow label, it is a square bottle……
Good news and less good news.
As a one year “austerity measure”, the government removed most optical and dental benefits from those paying PRSI as a PAYE employee. This one year measure lasted rather longer than one year! I am not sure if this was taken away in 2008 or 2009?
At the Optometrist, entitled clients were still allowed a funded eye exam, but there was no help towards the cost of spectacles.
In the 2016 Budget, the government announced a broadening of the scheme, to include a contribution towards spectacles or contact lenses (about time!), also they increased the coverage to include those who were paying a Class S self employed stamp, and their dependent spouses for the first time.
I have also had confirmation that people who “dual qualify” – those who hold a medical card, but are also working, can choose which service they wish to use – if the Treatment Benefit authorises, we would suggest going that route every time – authorisation for a medical card sight test can take many weeks! That is the good news on the Treatment Benefit side.
Less good is the fact that we can no longer check your entitlement with verbal consent – we used to be able to get a person’s name and PPSn number over the phone and enquire to the Department if they would be allowed an eye exam. We now require your written and signed consent to ask this information, because of the upcoming European GDPR rules. (General Data Protection Regulations).
To confirm eligibility, all we need is your PPS number and your date of birth, but we do need to have signed and dated consent to do this.
We can also no longer enquire about any eligibility as a dependant spouse – we used to just require your and your spouse’s PPS numbers, but now you will need to send off a form, with your spouse’s signed consent to access this information.
Overall this is good news as many more people are now going to be entitled to a “Free” Eye Examination. It is not free, but it IS at no charge to you.
Most people should have their eyes checked every two years – don’t be fooled that just because you think you are seeing fine, that everything is OK. Seeing well is a great start, but Glaucoma is not called the “Thief of Sight” for nothing! Eye diseases are rare in young adults and children, but I could easily fill a good few posts about unexpected significant problems I have encountered in a routine, “no worries” eye exam!
Neither PRSI nor Medical Cards are supposed to be used for eye examinations in connection with employer VDU usage or employer Safety spectacles requirements. This is to ensure that the employee is not obliged to use their entitlement at any particular Optometrist.